Thanks to a new deal between American car manufacturer General Motors and Israeli company Powermat, charging your digital gadgets while driving could soon become the norm.
GM Ventures, the American company’s venture capital subsidiary, said it will invest $5 million in Powermat, a pioneer in wireless charging technology, to accelerate the technology’s development and support efforts to boost Powermat’s business worldwide.
The deal was announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Powermat technology allows electronic devices like smart phones, MP3 players and gaming devices to be charged wirelessly.
Seeing the opportunity for its vehicles, GM’s deal with Powermat will eliminate the need for charging cords for personal electronic devices in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models from the second half of 2012.
“Imagine a mat or shelf where you could put your iPhone, your Droid or other personal device and charge it automatically while you commute to work, run errands or as you’re driving on a family vacation,” said Micky Bly, GM’s lead electronics executive.
According to international media, Chevrolet’s plug-in hybrid Volt will be the first car fitted with the Powermat charging mat.
Powermat CEO Ran Poliakine has said that the elimination of cords is just one the benefits of the new technology, and that the charging mats are both safer and more efficient than plugging into the car’s cigarette lighter. Powermat, which was founded in 2007, already sells at-home charging mats.
Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures, told reporters in Las Vegas that GM would like to eventually sell the charging mats to other automakers. He noted that GM’s commercial agreement with Powermat gives the automaker exclusive rights to the technology. “This is a technology that really transcends any brand or consumer segment,” Lauckner said.